The madcap engineers at Toyota Gazoo Racing have shoehorned the LandCruiser 300’s potent new twin-turbo V6 petrol engine into a HiLux.
But road warriors stay patient: it’s in preparation for the 2022 Dakar Rally rather than for a road-ready Toyota answer to Ford’s Raptor range.
The company this week detailed an all-new desert-racer called the ‘Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+’, which conforms to new T1 category rules and regulations.
It’ll be revealed in full – the current prototype iteration is finished with temporary raw carbon-fibre – at the back end of testing by late 2021.
The GR DKR Hilux T1+ will share components with the existing race Hilux introduced in 2018, which won in 2019.
This newest version will feature bigger running gear – tyres of 37 inches (up from 32”) with a tread increase from 245mm to 320mm. The new car also has more suspension travel with the previous limit of 280mm increased to 350mm.
But under the bonnet lives the hero. The old HiLux Dakar racer had a 287kW and 620Nm 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8, which no doubt had its charm. But the new force-fed V6 outguns it.
In standard Toyota LandCruiser 300 form, the engine makes 305kW of power at 5200rpm and 650Nm of torque from 2000 rpm. However, Gazoo Racing says in race trim “those numbers are significantly higher”.
I’ll be honest: there’s no confirmation of any homologated road version of a hi-po HiLux, but this Dakar racer at least demonstrates that this engine can work in a different application.
Dakar 2022 will again be based solely in the Saudi Arabian desert, though the race follows a clockwise route this time. The race will start on January 2nd in the northern city of Ha’il, before traversing southward to the Empty Quarter.
The rest day will be in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on January 8th, before the race heads south-westward to the finish in the city of Jeddah on January 14th.